Posts

Choosing a “Word of the Year” – Will This Actually Change Anything?

In the few days before and after January 1st, all of social media is a-buzz with “Word of the Year” chatter. Seems everyone who is setting goals is choosing a word of the year. So naturally I started to think of what I wanted my word of the year to be. Oh, I came up with some great ideas but it kept coming back to the same word.

Choosing a Word of the Year – FOCUS.

I need this in my life. I’m desperately in need of focus because frankly, I’m a bit of a mess! Yeah, I’ve got four kids so my time is stretched pretty thin. My daily to-do list varies from blog posts, freelance writing assignments, doctor’s appointments, household budgeting, social media upkeep, grocery shopping and kid’s sports events and practices. On any given day, I might be coloring my hair, rotating 6 loads of laundry, making Pins for Pinterest, sending out emails for my blog, or going to Bible study. And I’ve not told you yet, but I’ve decided to go to night school for a medical career position. I’m still not sure where I’m going to squeeze in the time for all that entails.

That’s me, crazy hair to go with my crazy schedule!

But none of this is anything that causes you to blink because I know you’re all in the same position. Isn’t the real deal of being a mom is that we have a hundred things on our plate at any given time? Moms are supposed to do it all, right? I mean, that’s what we’ve always heard.

Multitasking is Life.

Sit around with a group of moms and bring up your schedule for the day. I can almost guarantee you that someone is going to “one up” by sharing their daily routine. There’s going to be a big one in there too, something you can’t even compete with, like a business trip or surgery. It’s going to seem like piling everything you possibly can with as little sleep as you can get by on is the norm. Must be why everyone is like, “But first, coffee”.

In the time that I’ve been writing this post, I’ve been everything except focused. I currently have open my Google Analytics for my blog, I’ve un-followed about a hundred people on Instagram, I’ve followed about a hundred people on Twitter, I’ve scheduled about 50 Pins in my Pinterest account, I’ve entered several online contests, researched two upcoming posts, checked my email dozens of times, updated two other blog posts, read a few articles I searched for on Google and I’ve had several Facebook messenger conversations.

Ahem…where’s the FOCUS and how do I get it?!

My struggle with doing everything is that I try to do it all at the same time. My free time is limited of course. I squeeze in snippets of work during the day while the toddler naps or during an episode of Sesame Street. I check email in the bathroom on my phone so I don’t have to hear my husband complain about me being on social media all the time. I stay up after my family has gone to bed so I can finish a post or send out a blog idea. And of course, I try to do everything at once.

Not possible to do it all at one time, I’m finding. At least it’s not possible to do it very well! It’s not only not getting done, things are sloppy and oft forgotten in my haste to “do it all”. With the upcoming addition of night school taking me out of the house for 6 hours each week and homework on top of that, I know that finding focus NOW is imperative.

Found this folder at Target…had to have it!

Is True Focus Available for Everyone?

I actually find it really really hard to do just one thing by itself. Multitasking!! All moms do that, don’t they? Is it just in my nature to be all over the place? Is true focus even possible?!

But what if all this multitasking means that I’ll never be able to gain the focus I need? Do I really need focus at all or can I continue to just get things done as I have been – willy-nilly, squeezed in work, flitting here and there until it’s completed at the last moment. I’m thinking that I’m going to need an overhaul in my thinking. I’m going to have to make some MAJOR changes in my routine to truly focus.

What Does Focus Mean to Me?

In my eyes, focus means I’ll be able to complete one task at a time to completion. Focus feels like a COMMITMENT. Seeing a single thing done and completed before moving to the next.

I imagine looking through a camera lens, when I depress the shutter slightly and what’s in view becomes crisp and sharp. I can’t see what’s outside the frame, I can only look at what the camera is pointing at. Nothing else matters, only what’s in that small box. Even the background in the shot is blurred. There is laser focus on that single thing and all else fades away.

For me, that means if I’m writing a post, I’m only writing that post. This might mean I wait to write until all other distractions are out of focus (kids in bed, dishes all washed, TV off). And not only am I using my Word of the Year FOCUS on just my work ventures, I’m wanting to improve my life all around. If want focus on my family, my spiritual life, my marriage and my home. Less overlap. Less multitasking. More full completion.

So how does one get FOCUS?

Oh, the million dollar question! How am I going to take a WORD and bring it into fruition? How do I amend what comes naturally to me (multi-tasking) and gain sharp focus instead?

After a Google search, I found these ideas:

  • Preparing yourself for the task
  • Understanding where you need to focus
  • Drink coffee
  • Doodle
  • Minimize multitasking
  • Take a 30 minute break
  • Turn on music
  • Meditate
  • Create a to-do list
  • Understand why you lose focus in the first place
  • Get organized
  • Visualize the results
  • Work on a particular project for only 30 minutes at a time

Some of these work for me and some of them don’t. I think that finding things that are the most appropriate for you, things that will help you stick to your goals are what matters. Personally I can see myself really being able to work for 30 minutes on one task before needing a break. Making a to-do is something I already do (I live for checking things off my list!) And knowing how and why I lose focus is important (hello, can you say constant interruption from little people?)

I’m excited to see how my WORD OF THE YEAR is going to help me towards my goals of FOCUS! Share your word or goals for this year.

Did you choose a Word of the Year? I chose mine, and here's how I'm working towards meeting that goal #OneWord #WordoftheYear

 

What’s on Your Ultimate Disney Bucket List?

What's on Your Ultimate Disney Bucket List?

All Disney fans have one. Perhaps it’s an actual written list or it might just be a mental list of things that make you say, “I’d LOVE to do that someday!” The Disney bucket list is fiercely personal. Each person has their top list of “must-do” in their lifetime items and this is what’s on mine.


What’s on your ultimate Disney bucket list?

What's on Your Ultimate Disney Bucket List?

Vacation Bucket List

Go to Disneyland – It’s where the magic began. I’ve been lucky to enough to live close to the Park and have been visiting frequently since 1974. As I’m leaving the gates at the end of the day, I’m always planning my next return so I guess even though I can cross this off my list, it remains a constant.

Go to Walt Disney World – I was able to cross this off my bucket list last April on my first trip to Orlando. It was everything I’d hoped for…and more! There is so much to explore here that I cannot wait to go back and experience it again (so it stays on my list!)

Take a Disney Cruise – With sailings that cover the globe, this is definitely one of my must-do Disney items. From the interactive dinners, the private beach Castaway Cay to the amazing Broadway-style entertainment, this is an all-inclusive experience I have to do.

Visit Aulani, Disney’s resort hotel in Hawaii – I’ve never been to Hawaii so that’s on my travel list anyway. Why not stay at Aulani? I love that the children’s supervised activity center, Aunty’s Beach House, is included in the price of your stay.

Go on an Adventures by Disney – After my husband and I traveled to Europe in 2014, we are determined to someday get our children there for vacation as well. What would be better suited to children than an Adventure by Disney tour that is customized for all guests to enjoy. I like that there are supervised activities for the kids so that the adults can have grown-up time, too.

Visit the Disney Parks in other countries – Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo and coming soon to Shanghai. So familiar and yet, so different. Tokyo Disney Sea looks breathtaking.


What's on Your Ultimate Disney Bucket List?

Inside the Parks –

Dine at every restaurant inside the Parks – I’ll admit that I’ve eaten at every restaurant inside of Disneyland over the years but am still working my way around the eats at Disney California Adventure Park. Top dining on my list: Carthay Circle. With only one trip to Walt Disney World under my belt, I still have lots of dining to experience there.

Get autographs or photos with all of the Disney characters – Easier said than done, because some characters only make appearances at special events!

Dine at Club 33 inside Disneyland – I’ll  need a special invite for this one. Anyone? Anyone…

Attend a 24 hour event – Pace yourself! Yes, on one day each year, the Parks offer a 24 hour day, can you make it the entire time? I’d like to try!

runDisney – Am I a runner? Nope! But those beautiful medals and being able to run through the Parks is incentive enough for me to lace up my running shoes! I will do this one.

Dress up and attend Dapper Day – I just love the idea of dressing up to enjoy the Parks (so long as I can have cute but comfortable shoes!)

Visit Disney for all seasons – It’s a different experience depending upon the time that you visit, for sure! Disney does a wonderful job of decorating the Parks for each season, even down to the colorful arrangements in the flower beds.

What's on Your Ultimate Disney Bucket List?

Attend Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland or Mickey’s “Not-so-Scary” Halloween Party at Walt Disney World – Though I’ve been to Disneyland during Halloween Time, I’ve yet to experience any of the ticketed Halloween evening events. I love seeing families dress up though it’s still in the air how this will play out in October given the new security policy.

Attend Mickey’s “Very Merry Christmas Party” at Walt Disney World – Holiday atmosphere, entertainment, Mickey dressed up like “Santa”? And it all takes place at the Magic Kingdom? Sounds like a holiday must-do to me!

Spend the night in the Dream Suite at Disneyland or Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom – You can’t buy your way into this one, you’ll either have to win a contest or be invited. But wow, what a dream that would be for sure, to sleep inside the Parks!


dlhotel1

At the Disney Resort –

Stay at all of the Disney Park Resort hotels – With only 3 in California this could be do-able (I’ve yet to stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa). However you’ll have to stay at 27 Resort hotels at Walt Disney World to cover them all!

Have a Disney wedding – “I do” want to renew my vows at Disney but you can be sure that weddings and vow renewals a la Disney are big bucks.

Disney Vacation Club – Membership allows you to stay at exclusive villas at the resorts or use your points to vacation around the world.

Image from Disney Store.com – Affiliate Link

Join D23, the official Disney fan club – I’ve been a Disney fan all my life, why not make it official and join the club? You’ll receive a quarterly publication, there are special member events and exclusive merchandise available for purchase.


We were served a lovely breakfast and given time to chat. I position myself near the front since my vision isn't the best (and I didn't want to miss anything!) There was a lot of valuable information and I captured as much as I could via my laptop so I could share here with you. Buckle up and here we go!

Disney Close to Home – 

Watch (and/or own) every Disney movie – I’ve seen a lot of them and we own a lot of them, but not all of them!

See a Disney on Ice Show- My kids (and I!) would love to see one of these traveling shows.

See a Disney Broadway show – If you can make it to NYC, these showstoppers are a must-see. The shows also have a North American tour so perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to see it in your hometown.

Have a Disney-themed room – Pinterest is the perfect place to start if you want to design your own Magic Kingdom at home. Even if you don’t go top to bottom Disney, a few well-chosen posters, mementos and design features help you capture the magical spirit. I have this poster from Vivid Editions that will be hung near the new baby’s bed.

Get invited to the big Disney Social Media Moms Event – Yes, I had the great opportunity to attend the Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road event in Portland in late spring and it was fantastic. I’d love to make it onto the invite list to join other bloggers in Orlando for the invite-only event in the late spring *fingers crossed*


Okay, what are YOUR Disney bucket list items? Share in the comments!

this post contains affiliate links

signnature8

Looking for ways to save on your Disney vacation?  I recommend Park Savers for discount Disney tickets! (affiliate link)

Park Savers affiliate link

“I Want to Save More Money” – 5 Basic Questions to Ask Yourself

"I Want to Save More Money" - 5 Basic Questions to Ask Yourself

It’s not simply enough to say that you want to “save more money”. Money has a way of disappearing from your bank account and wallet so quickly if you don’t keep track of it. If you want to save more money, the first thing you need to do is set your goal!

When my husband and I were working with a broker/Realtor to purchase our first house, he told us the minimum we’d need in cash for a down payment/closing costs. We set our monetary goal, figured out the timeline and made a savings plan. Within four months, we had more than enough set aside in our savings account. We’ve continued putting money aside in our savings account, though not as aggressively as when we had that particular goal. What a great feeling to have cash in the bank to fall back on when brakes on the car need repair, your husband is laid off for six weeks or your ceiling has a leak (all things that happened to us last year!)


Get that dream Disney vacation you've always wanted! "I Want to Save More Money" - 5 Basic Questions to Ask Yourself

Get out your note pad and make it real by answering these 5 basic money saving questions —

1. What is your monetary goal? 

Write down a number. Best to overshoot and make the number higher than you think you’ll need.

2. What are you saving for?

Keep your savings on track by pinpointing what the money is earmarked for. Whether it be you’re saving up for something grand like a home down payment or you just want to buy that gorgeous Dooney & Bourke handbag, make the goal real by writing it down. Maybe even print a photo that you put in a prominent place to keep you on track!

3. How long will it take you to reach your goal?

Set a deadline for yourself that’s within the foreseeable future. If your ultimate goal number is really big, break it up into quarters and set a date that is close at hand to help keep your savings spirits up!

4. What are you willing to give up to make saving possible?

Make sure you know your True Budget first and see where the extra savings money is going to come from to make your goal savings a reality. Try using this helpful worksheet. What’s in your budget that you’re willing to sacrifice to meet that goal? I’ve covered this topic in my articles Learning to Live Without and Realistic Ways of Cutting Back in Your Budget.

5. Is your savings plan reasonable?

The last thing you want to do is crash and burn on your goal because it’s too stressful or unrealistic. Make sure your budget has flexibility to continue to allow for fun things or emergencies.


Get that dream Disney vacation you've always wanted! "I Want to Save More Money" - 5 Basic Questions to Ask Yourself

Once you’ve answered all these questions, figure out exactly how much you’ll be setting aside each month to meet your goal.

Simple formula: Total amount you want to save divided by the months that it will take you to reach the goal = How much you need to save each month


It’s never too late to make meaningful changes! Please read up on the other topics in my Resolution Series –

I Want to Start an Exercise Routine

I Want to Look More Put Together Head to Toe

I Want to Eat Healthier

signature5